February 2012 Issue

This Club Night

Discussion of club funds.

Bits and pieces

I am thinking about going to Oshkosh this coming July, would any of the club members want to go as well? I have checked flights and the budget price so far for a direct Virgin flight from Heathrow to Chicago including a large people carrier is just over £900. We have stayed at Ripon College previously which is very reasonable: The rates at the college are $48 for a single room (sleeps one person in a single bed), $64 for a double room (sleeps two people in separate single beds) and a 4 bed-suite (two double rooms connected with a common room). Please advise me if you want go.

Dear EAA Enthusiast:
Greetings from the Conference Services Staff at Ripon College.
Ripon College is once again offering lodging in our Residence Halls for EAA visitors.  We would like to give you the opportunity to reserve rooms at this time.  The 2012 EAA Fly-In will run from Monday, July 23rd through Sunday, July 29th. We will be lodging guests from Sunday, July 22nd through Monday, July 31st. Each guest is entitled to a complimentary full breakfast every morning at our Pickard Commons Dining Hall from 6:00 – 8:00 a.m. The breakfast will include a variety of hot breakfast entrees, fruits, pastries, meats, coffee and juices.

Features Ripon College is offering our EAA guests are:
* $8.00 per night fee for a third person in a double room (no extra bedding provided).
* Sheets/towels/pillow/pillowcase/blankets/soap/glass set up on each bed.
* Lighted parking lots.
* Free laundry facilities.
* Indoor swimming pool available each evening (No Charge).
* TV lounges and vending machines in every residence hall.
* Public bathrooms are provided for men and women on each floor.
* 24 hour front desk coverage.
* Wireless hotspots are provided in all Residence Halls.

Additional Information:
* Registration and check-in (2:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.) will be in Johnson Hall, located at 416 Thorne Street, Ripon, WI 54971.
* We regret we are not able to provide cots, air mattresses or additional beds in the rooms.
* Residence Halls are not air conditioned, so you may want to bring a small fan.
* Ripon College is located nineteen miles from the EAA grounds.
* You will receive a confirmation letter about 2 weeks after we receive your registration form.
* Keys are provided for security and must be returned to the registration desk at the time of checkout (10:00 a.m.). There will be a $25.00 charge if the key is not returned.
* Refunds will be honored, except for a $15.00 handling fee, if postmarked by July 2, 2012.
* No refunds for early departures.
* Accepted method of payment: Check or money order. Entire balance is due prior to arrival.
Please return the enclosed reservation form with payment to: EAA Housing, 300 Seward ST, Ripon WI 54971. If you have questions, feel free to contact me between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm CST at (920) 748-8164 or PrzybylA@ripon.edu.

Amanda Przybyl
Assistant Director of Conferences & Contract Services

Tony Palmer


The above aircraft is a Tipsy Belfair registration number G-APIE and together with GAPOD and G-AXO were hidden from the Germans during the war in a Belgium
factory.  They were stripped and imported into the UK in packing cases and remained there until they were sold during 1957-58.  G-APIE has had many owners over the years and was resident at Old Warden for a time and it is sadly the only remaining airworthy version as the only other survivor GAPOD is in pieces awaiting a very long term major rebuild.

Going through some of my old Strut newsletters, I came across an article written by
Phil Ansell in March 1994 and thought it might be of interest to today’s members.  I have reproduced this article below.

In the early days of the Southern Strut, going back 12 years or so, we used to meet every month at the Railway Hotel opposite Brighton Station.  Those were exciting times, with much happening and many new ideas gaining momentum, following the very first meeting of the very first meeting of local PFA members on the 4th.July 1969 in the King and Queen Marlborough Place Brighton.

In the infancy of the Strut system, there were already a number of homebuilt
projects on the go.  There were the first Strut rallies being organized, plus other events such as Summer Camp and Christmas Party under consideration.  New Struts were being formed all the time, and with the south being the hotbed of the PFA activity, many more people came considerable distances to see what was going on down here.

Inevitably, amongst those of us short of money and unable to fly very much, and
the subject of Group formation was discussed. A small committee was appointed to set up a draft of rules, and the PFA Group 274 came into being under the new name of the Southern Strut Flying Group.  Our aim was for cheap, safe flying and to encourage others by example.  At the start there were eight of us, including PFA Chairman Dave Faulkner-Bryant, while others still around in the Strut nowadays are Maurice White, Mike Grigson and myself (1982).

We soon fell in love with a sadly neglected Tipsy Belfair G-APOD lying in the back of a hanger at Rochester, and agreed to buy it for the princely sum of £525.00.  Many delays and months of waiting followed before, one chilly day in April 1971, our good friend Toon ferried the little two seater, minus cockpit canopy, which had been temporarily mislaid, to its new Shoreham base.

It was to be another six months, and after a permit renewal, that aircraft the aircraft was to fly again. Belatedly, we learned that a complete engine overhaul, plus considerable work on the airframe, were necessary. Unfortunately, we were all new to the game and frustration and personality clashes led to two members falling by the wayside, even before we commenced flying operations.

The Group did eventually get airborne with the Belfair, but to claim that it was a roaring success would not exactly be true.  It’s a long story, but I prefer to look back on it as good for gaining experience, and some of us still retain affection for G-APOD.  Certainly, although the airframe was not much to look at, I always felt safe sitting behind the 62hp. Walter Mikron engine driving its Fairey Reed metal propeller and my 22 hours in the Tipsy included a first visit to a PFA event, to the Blackbushe Easter 1972 Rally, and also my first airborne sorties to other familiar local airfields such as Thruxton, Redhill and Headcorn.  This initial experience undoubtedly helped nearly ten years later with the formation of the Zebedee Flying Group.

This time there were seven of us, again including Maurice and myself as founder members, along with Alan Dunn as our engineering expert and Toon as our guide and mentor.  The group idea had been going the rounds again for a while and two of us had even put a bit on an Auster but things really took of following a response to Alan’s advertisement in Popular Flying from an Englishman resident in Germany.  Toon went over there to inspect the Piper Cub which was duly purchased and delivered from Munchengladbach by the previous owner one hot Saturday afternoon at the end of July.

Although long since dormant, having sold G-APOD several years back, not many realise that the Southern Strut Flying Group lives on, albeit in name only, with just a few pence in a long forgotten bank account.

It would be nice to think that one day a stronger Mk two version might be resurrected with a new aircraft to join Zebedee, with which it has close ties, in the skies over Sussex.

Phil Ansell March 1982.